Informe semanal de noticias del mercado alemán de las Oficinas de Turismo de Tenerife en Fráncfort

  • Market News: 

Opinions split over climate protection and sustainability: Environmental issues are on top of the agenda in the tourism industry, but opinions are split over how the sector should respond to its challenges. Experts have widely differing views about what the travel sector can and should do to reduce its environmental impact, a high-profile panel discussion at this week’s fvw Kongress made clear. Stefan Gössling, professor for human ecology and tourism at the Linnaeus University, Kalmar (Sweden), was forthright with his opinions. He claimed that tourism in its current form is “not compatible” with the earth’s available resources and warned that large regions of the world could be lost as holiday destinations. “If you want that, then just keep on going,” he declared. Gössling, a recognised international expert in sustainable tourism who has advised international organisations and UN agencies, accused the tourism industry and politicians of “greenwashing in public and lobbying in private”. In future, growth should be measured in terms of quality and value, and not volume, he recommended. In contrast, Matthias von Randow, director of the German Aviation Industry Association (BDL), declared that CO2 emissions compensation “is better than nothing at all”. Ambitious targets are important but not enough on their own. “As the aviation industry, we are engaged above all in the question of ‘how’, in other words the question of effective measures,” he commented. But Dietrich Brockhagen, founder of CO2 compensation organisation Atmosfair, claimed the aviation industry did not have any specific targets at all. “You’re repeating the goals that you have been talking about for ten years. There is nothing specific. We had that for long enough,” he said. The campaigner complained that all the current proposals only had one thing in common: “They are all based in the future.” But Gössling said he remained optimistic. “It’s possible to finance and restructure everything necessary. It can be done in such a way that jobs are not lost, or freedoms restricted. We must all be more courageous. Together we can achieve a lot for all of us,” he concluded at the end of the discussion.

2019 summer season reaches previous year’s level: According to the Travel Data & Analytics, travel agencies once again made strong bookings for the summer season in August. This means that summer 2019 is now at the previous year’s level. However, the coming winter is still lagging. At the current booking level at the end of August 2019, the previous minus for the summer season has climbed to a black zero. According to the successor organization to GfK Travel Insights, Travel Data & Analytics (TDA), sales in August achieved a seven percent increase in summer sales year-on-year. However, winter travel sales were three percent down on the prior year. This brings August sales to plus two percent. The figures show that customers continue to book at short notice: the proportion of bookings for vacations with departure in August or September was still higher than in the previous year. While in August 2018 33.1 percent of short-term sales were generated, this year it was 35.2 percent of monthly sales. The seven percent increase in bookings for the current summer season in both sales channels – stationary and online – was almost the same. In terms of the cumulative summer balance, however, online travel sales were better with a plus of five percent. In stationary travel sales, summer sales are still two percent down on the previous year. Taken together, this results in a summer balance at the previous year’s level. At the current booking level at the end of August 2019, 95 percent of last year’s seasonal sales have thus been booked. Travel bookings for the coming winter season accounted for a good third of August sales – 1.8 percentage points less than in the same month last year. Even the turnover achieved was unable to keep pace with the previous year (minus three percent). Thus, the 2019/20 season shows a cumulative minus of four percent compared to the current booking status. However, the next winter season will run against a very high-growth previous year, which at that time showed an increase in sales of nine percent.

Turkey, Egypt and Greece make strong August comeback on German market: As stated by fvw, German holidaymakers snapped up cheap last-minute online offers for Turkey, Egypt and Greece last month but Spain again lost market share amid a general sales recovery, the latest monthly package holiday booking figures from Amadeus show. German package and online bookings for the top ten mass destinations increased slightly (by 0.7%) in August, continuing a steady improvement since June. Growth was driven by online bookings, which increased by 3% compared to the same month last year. Offline sales through travel agencies, which have higher average prices, were 2.1% lower than the same month last year. The average booking price per person in travel agencies of €928 was 23% higher than the average online booking price. Antalya consolidated this year’s growth with a further 5.4% rise on last year’s volumes. This was driven by a 7.7% surge in online bookings that compensated for lower offline sales. Online prices for the Turkish Riviera were nearly 15% lower on average than in travel agencies (where the average booking value was €807 per person). Egypt was another winner last month with solid growth for Hurghada (+8.7%) and Marsa Alam (+11.1%). Online bookings were well ahead of travel agency sales for both destinations, with online prices for Hurghada a dramatic 30% lower on average than in travel agencies. Greece performed well in August after a weak July with growth for the three biggest destinations for German holidaymakers. Heraklion grew fractionally thanks to a 2.9% rise in offline sales despite higher average prices. Rhodes was up moderately, driven by stronger online growth, and bookings for Kos (+28%) soared for the third month in a row. But Spain continued to lose business on the German package holiday market, according to the Amadeus figures. Bookings for Palma, which remains the second-biggest destination airport, were down by 3.3% in August, largely due to a 6.7% sales fall in travel agencies where the average holiday price is 29% higher than online. The double-digit drop in bookings for the Canary Islands continued last month, although these were lower than in recent months. Significantly, the islands are still selling better in travel agencies than online despite higher prices. For example, the average price of a holiday on Tenerife booked through a travel agency was €1,214 last month, which was 30% more than the average online price. In terms of the three main islands, Fuerteventura (-11.4% overall) saw a 4.3% fall in travel agency bookings but an 18.8% fall in online sales. Similarly, Tenerife South (-12.4%) had a 6.6% fall in travel agencies but 18.5% online. Las Palmas (-17.1%) suffered heavy declines both in travel agencies (15.7%) and online (-19.4%). Amadeus Leisure IT (formerly Traveltainment) claims to handle the bulk of offline (travel agency) and online bookings for tour operator holidays on the German market, making its booking figures a reliable indicator of demand trends. 

  • Aviation News:

TUI rejects Condor rumours: The holiday flight market could continue to consolidate; experts were convinced during a discussion at the fvw congress. The «Handelsblatt», a german business newspaper, reported on Tuesday that TUI had «kept an eye on Condor» and started talks on the subject. In the course of the planned recapitalisation of Thomas Cook, banks are to take over the majority of Thomas Cook Airlines, including Condor. However, it is expected that the banks will hold the TC airlines only temporarily.Stefan Baumert, Tourism Managing Director of TUI Deutschland, rejected these Condor rumours in a panel discussion at the fvw congress: «We are not holding any talks». Baumert is also responsible for marketing the subsidiary TUIfly. In 2017, the TUIfly Group wanted to integrate TUIfly into an alliance with Etihad and its then subsidiary Niki. TUI CEO Fritz Joussen justified this at the time by saying that his company wanted to invest primarily in hotels and cruise ships. Baumert is also convinced that there will be further consolidation in holiday flights, but without the active participation of his company. «We’ll take a look,» he said. For example, TUIfly took advantage of the opportunities after the insolvency of Germania and only two days later increased its offer in Nuremberg. Paul Schwaiger, Commercial Director of Condor, did not go into the speculation in detail, but said that his airline would act «even more neutrally» in the market after the separation from Thomas Cook. TUI, for example, is already an important customer. Schwaiger was fundamentally open to code-sharing agreements. For some time now, there has been rumour about such a cooperation between Condor and Lufthansa on long-haul tourist routes. Schwaiger pointed out that Condor cooperates very well with Lufthansa on feeder services for the long-haul route, which is mainly based in Frankfurt. TUI also cooperates with Lufthansa: Seven of TUIfly’s 39 aircraft are wet leased for its subsidiary Eurowings. From 2021, however, these aircraft will be gradually withdrawn, Baumert said.

  • Cruise News:

German cruise market sails towards three million passengers: According to fvw, the German cruise market is likely to reach a new record of three million passengers in the coming years despite environmental debates, according to experts at the Seatrade Europe conference in Hamburg this week. Several new ships are coming on to the German market this year, such as the Aida Nova, Aida Mira, Mein Schiff 2, Costa Smeralda and the MSC ships Bellissima and Grandiosa. This capacity expansion is likely to put prices under pressure. Karl J. Pojer, Germany chief of the Clia association, was confident that cruises will continue to gain in popularity. He told a panel discussion at the Seatrade Europe event: «Customers love our product and respect the quality they are offered.» The head of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises predicted that the number of German ocean cruise passengers will exceed the three million mark in 2020 or 2021. In comparison, there were about 2.2 million passengers last year. Moreover, analysts such as Jamie Rollo (Morgan Stanley) expect pressure on prices to weaken because neither of the two dominant German cruise lines, Aida and TUI Cruises, will have a new vessel next year. Wybcke Meier, head of TUI Cruises, said that 34% of Germans are interested in going on a cruise holiday but only 8% had actually done so to date. This showed the industry’s growth potential. Meanwhile, the overall number of ocean cruise passengers in Europe is expected to reach 7.5 million this year, according to Michael Thamm, Chairman of Clia Europe and head of the Costa Group. He stressed that the industry is investing €20 billion in new technologies, from LNG to electric motors, to improve its environmental footprint. «We take our responsibility seriously and are further than public perception reflects.» The role of cruise ships as a contributor to overtourism was another topic at the Seatrade Europe conference. Thamm said that although the number of cruise passengers only lies between 5% and 10% of the total in the most popular destinations, the industry takes concerns seriously and is working on solutions with affected destinations. He cited the agreement with Dubrovnik, under which no more than 4,000 cruise passengers will be allowed into the historic centre at any one time from 2020 onwards. Felix Eichhorn, head of Aida Cruises, emphasised the need for individual solutions for each destination, given that many destinations wanted more visitors, not fewer. MSC chief Gianni Onorato underlined the need to develop new destinations given the increase in ship capacity in the coming years.

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